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  • Monday, October 22, 2018

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release Oct. 27, 2018: Italy + Whisky

LCBO Wine Picks: October 27, 2018 VINTAGES Release
The parade of premium wines we head into the busy holiday season continues with the LCBO VINTAGES Release. Featured in this Release are impeccable wines from Italy as the main theme, while the mini-theme features whisky from three continents. All of the lovely wines from this Release will be on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario this .

We'll begin with the main theme that features twelve illustrious wines from Italy, five of which are included among my top wine picks. The lone white among them is from Umbria, made by iconic producer Marchesi Antinori, and consists of Chardonnay and a small amount of Grechetto. Moving on to the reds, there are some really excellent wines, including a 100% Aglianico from 200-year-old vines in Campania, as well as a Brunello made with 100% Sangiovese Grosso. From Tuscany, the Gran Selezione is a blend of 85% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot, and 5% Colorino, while the iconic Sassicaia is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc.

Nativ Bicento 2013 (94 pts)Palazzo Brunello di Montalcino 2013 (93 pts)

Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro Gran Selezione Chianti Classico 2014 (92 pts)

Among red wines from the rest of the Release, the Côtes du Rhône Villages is a blend of mostly Grenache, with Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault in support, while the organic wine from South Africa is a blend of 90% Shiraz and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. From Armenia(!), there is a nice blend of Syrah, Tannat, Malbec, and Petit Verdot, while the Chianti Classico is a blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot. From Spain, the Rioja is a blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Mazuelo, while the Priorat is a blend of 90% Carignan and 10% Grenache. Lastly, the Napa Cab is a blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, and 1% Cabernet Franc.

Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 (93 pts)LAN Gran Reserva 2010 (91 pts)

From my white wine picks, the only blend is from Australia, consisting of 50% Marsanne, 42% Roussanne, and 8% Viognier. For those who prefer their wines with a hint of sweetness, you should look for the Riesling from either Cave Spring or Quails' Gate. If you want something off-dry, look for the Gewürztraminer, or something semi-sweet with the Tawse Riesling.

Cave Spring CSV Riesling 2016 (92 pts)Tawse Sketches of Niagara Riesling 2016 (90 pts)

Pierre Sparr Réserve Gewurztraminer 2016 (89 pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Grazie!

Red Wine:

  • CUVÉE SABRINE CÔTES DU RHÔNE VILLAGES 2015 - AC, France (#538496) (XD) - $15.95
  • ALTA VISTA PREMIUM CABERNET FRANC 2016 - Mendoza, Argentina (#609081) (XD) - $17.95
  • REYNEKE ORGANIC RED 2017 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#617217) (XD) - $19.95
  • MONTES ALPHA CARMENÈRE 2015 - Dry farmed, DO Colchagua Valley, Chile (#143230) (D) - $19.95
  • THELEMA MOUNTAIN VINEYARDS SUTHERLAND PINOT NOIR 2015 - WO Elgin, South Africa (#624924) (XD) - $19.95

  • KARAS RED 2016 - Armavir Region, Armenia (#492751) (XD) - $21.95
  • CARPINETO FARNITO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#996553) (XD) - $28.95
  • VOLPAIA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#953828) (XD) - $28.95  FE
  • LAN GRAN RESERVA 2010 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#928622) (XD) - $34.95  91 pts  wine review
  • NATIV BICENTO 2013 - DOC Irpinia Campi Taurasini, Campania, Italy (#575035) (XD) - $41.95  94 pts  wine review

  • RUFFINO RISERVA DUCALE ORO GRAN SELEZIONE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2014 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#353201) (XD) - $47.95  92 pts  wine review
  • TORRES COS PERPETUAL 2015 - DOCa Priorat, Spain (#265710) (XD) - $49.95  FE
  • PALAZZO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#660746) (XD) - $69.95  93 pts  wine review
  • CHATEAU MONTELENA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#718452) (XD) - $74.95  93 pts  wine review
  • SASSICAIA 2015 - DOC Bolgheri Sassicaia, Tuscany, Italy (#480533) (XD) - $225.95

White Wine:

  • PIERRE SPARR RÉSERVE GEWURZTRAMINER 2016 - AC Alsace, France (#747600) (D) $18.95  89 pts  wine review
  • TAWSE SKETCHES OF NIAGARA RIESLING 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#089029) (M) $18.95  90 pts  wine review
  • QUAILS’ GATE DRY RIESLING 2017 - BC VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#308312) (D) - $18.95
  • REDSTONE CHARDONNAY 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#398966) (XD) - $19.95
  • JOSÉ PARIENTE VERDEJO 2016 - DO Rueda, Spain (#345058) (XD) - $19.95
  • VILLA MARIA CELLAR SELECTION SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#974527) (XD) - $21.95  89 pts  wine review

  • CRAGGY RANGE TE MUNA ROAD SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Martinborough, North Island, New Zealand (#466011) (XD) - $26.95
  • HERVÉ AZO CHABLIS 2016 - AC, Burgundy, France (#185736) (XD) - $27.95
  • HIDDEN BENCH ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2016 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#068817) (XD) - $29.95  90 pts  wine review
  • CAVE SPRING CSV RIESLING 2016 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#566026) (XD) - $29.95  92 pts  wine review
  • COMPLICES DE LOIRE TERRES DE CAILOTTES POUILLY-FUMÉ 2016 - AC, Loire, France (#557488) (XD) - $31.95
  • JOHN DUVAL PLEXUS WHITE 2016 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#609099) (XD) - $36.95  FE
  • CASTELLO DELLA SALA CERVARO DELLA SALA 2016 - IGT Umbria, Italy (#512376) (XD) - $68.95
Hidden Bench Estate Chardonnay 2016 (90 pts)Villa Maria Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (89 pts)


  • OFFLEY 10-YEAR-OLD TAWNY PORT - DOP, Portugal (#297788) (S) - $26.95

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  • Saturday, October 20, 2018

McWilliam's Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon 2006 (Australia) - Wine Review

Something really special, wine review is an aged Hunter Valley Semillon that was purchased from an LCBO VINTAGES Release .

Hunter Valley (in Australia, just north of Sydney) is known for producing outstanding Semillon that can be enjoyed young or admired when allowed to age gracefully. Let's see how this is tasting tonight!

McWilliam's Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon 2006 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

MCWILLIAM'S MOUNT PLEASANT ELIZABETH SEMILLON 2006 - Cellar aged, Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia (#724492) (XD) - $19.95
Screw cap. Medium yellow-gold colour. Medium-high intensity aromatics are mature and very complex, offering lovely petrol, yellow flower, paraffin, fig, candle and beeswax. It's medium-full bodied with aromas coming up in spades on the mature palate, supported by bracing, juicy acidity. Some lemon/lime flavours appear mid-palate and continue through to the long finish that is flecked with beeswax, butter, and green herb, and finishes with stony minerality. Can be enjoyed over the next 1-2 years. Brilliant! Score: 91 pts

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  • Sunday, October 14, 2018

Cave de Roquebrun La Grange des Combes Saint-Chinian-Roquebrun 2010 (Midi) - Wine Review

beverage is a lovely red wine blend that I purchased 5 years ago from the LCBO VINTAGES Release. I also have the 2013 and 2015 vintages of this wine, which would've made for a nice vertical tasting, but alas, only the 2010 is opened tonight.

The latest vintage (2016) of this delicious wine can be found in the LCBO VINTAGES section for a couple of dollars more than what I paid for this wine 5 years ago.

Cave de Roquebrun La Grange des Combes Saint-Chinian-Roquebrun 2010 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

Blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache, and 20% Mourvèdre grown on schistous soils facing south and south-east. It was raised in stainless steel tanks and bottled unfiltered. Fragrant earthy, smoky, savoury, meaty nose accented by peppery spice, black cherry, and touches of floral aromas. It is almost full bodied on the lively palate with savoury dark cherry, mineral, smoke, garrigue, blackberry flavours. Acids are still quite fresh, while firm, gritty tannins are chalky and drying. Garrigue, pepper, savoury, and mineral notes linger on the fine, long finish. A pleasure to drink, but tannins are starting to overpower the fruit. Drink now. Score: 90 pts

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  • Friday, October 12, 2018

Giveaway - Win Tickets to Gourmet Food & Wine Expo 2018

I am giving away Two (2) pairs of ELITE Pass tickets (valued at $100/pair) to the upcoming 2018 Gourmet Food & Wine Expo that is taking place from to at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in downtown Toronto. These ELITE Pass Tickets grant you front-of-the-line access through the special ELITE entrance and are valid for any one day of your choosing.

Your chance to win tickets to #GFWE2018 and contest entry form is at the bottom of this post.

Win Tickets to Gourmet Food & Wine Expo 2018

The 24th annual Gourmet Food & Wine Expo offers you 1,500 wines, beers, spirits and gourmet foods to experience - more than ever before. You can journey around the globe with cooking pros, talk one-on-one with industry experts and taste the newest dishes and drinks.

You will have the opportunity to sample tons of new craft beer, awesome spirits, world-class wine and of course, food from some of the area’s top restaurants and chefs.

Some of this year's highlights include:
  • Tutored Tastings Program offers the opportunity to taste some of the world's best wines while learning from top industry experts.
  • Chef Stage features complimentary cooking demonstrations all weekend hosted by celebrity guests and incredibly talented locals.
  • #TrendCentral Stage presents interactive tastings sessions of cutting-edge wines, beers and spirits.
  • Spiritology Pavilion infuses passionate bartenders into the heart of the action to showcase the latest from Toronto’s exciting cocktail scene.
  • Grand Tasting Bar offers a unique opportunity to taste incredible wines alongside top industry experts.
  • The Central Entertainment Area is the pulsating heart of the show, featuring eye-catching décor and dazzling entertainers throughout the four-day expo.
Having attended this event each of the past 7 years, I can tell you firsthand that you'll have a great time!

Event Details:

When:Thursday, , 6-10 p.m. VIP Preview Evening
Friday, , 2-10 p.m.
Saturday, , 12-10 p.m.
Sunday, , 12-6 p.m.

Where:Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building
255 Front Street West
Toronto, ON

Must be 19 years of age or older. No children or infants permitted.


Here's your chance to WIN a pair of tickets to Gourmet Food & Wine Expo 2018. Two (2) winners will be announced! Each winner will receive one (1) pair of tickets valued at $100 per pair. List of exhibitors.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  • Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release Oct. 13, 2018: Bouquet List + Wine Wisdom

LCBO Wine Picks: October 13, 2018 VINTAGES Release
As we head into the busy holiday season, the VINTAGES Releases tend to get larger with an emphasis on pricier wines. The main theme of LCBO VINTAGES Release is titled "The Bouquet List", while the mini-theme is titled "Wine Wisdom". All of the wines from this Release will be on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario this coming .

We'll begin with the Bouquet List that features a 11 "must-try" wines and a $3,700 Cognac. There isn't a bad wine in the group and 7 are included among my top wine picks. First up are a pair of big wines - a Shiraz from Australia, and the Purple Angel from Chile which is a blend of 92% Carmenere and 8% Petit Verdot. The Gigondas is a blend of Grenache and Syrah, while the Barolo is 100% Nebbiolo. Staying in Italy, the Brunello is 100% Sangiovese, while the Super Tuscan Oreno is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot. Lastly, there is a 2008 Cristal Champagne made with 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay that will continue to age for many years.

Réva Barolo 2013 (92 pts)Davis Bynum River West Vineyard Chardonnay 2015 (90 pts)

The mini-theme talks about 8 wine terms and associates that term with a particular wine. From this theme, 4 of the 8 wines made my list of wine picks. Some of these terms include "malolactic conversion" that is associated with the lovely Davis Bynum Chardonnay, "lees contact" which occurred on the Sur Lie (on the lees) Muscadet Sèvre et Maine that is made with Melon de Bourgogne. The Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc underwent "stainless steel fermentation", and the last term is "Icewine production" and associated to the Cabernet Franc Icewine from Henry of Pelham.

Red wines from southern France include a Ventoux that is a blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache, and 20% Mourvèdre, while the Roussillon is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 20% Carignan. Also from France, the Bourgueil is made with Cabernet Franc. The Spanish red is a blend of Garnacha and Tempranillo, while the Clos de los Siete is a blend of 54% Malbec, 18% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Syrah, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Petit Verdot.

Clos de los Siete 2014 (89 pts)

Among my white wine picks from the rest of the Release, the Bordeaux white is a 50/50 blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon, while the rest are all single varietal wines. The organic Sauvignon Blanc is also suitable for vegetarians and vegans. For those who like off-dry (i.e. a little sweet) wines, look for the Gewürztraminer or the Henry of Pelham Riesling. If you prefer more sweeter in your wines, look for the Fergie Jenkins Riesling or the Riesling Kabinett.

Momo Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (90 pts)Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett 2015 (90 pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • XAVIER VENTOUX 2016 - AP, Rhône, France (#413211) (D) - $15.95
  • LOMA GORDA VINO DE PARCELA CERVERA DE LA CAÑADA 2013 - DOP Catalunya, Spain (#575571) (XD) - $16.95
  • ZUCCARDI SERIE A BONARDA 2016 - Santa Rosa, Mendoza, Argentina (#355560) (XD) - $16.95
  • DOMAINE LES PINS CUVÉE LES ROCHETTES BOURGUEIL 2015 - AP, Loire, France (#478263) (D) - $18.95
  • THUNEVIN-CALVET CUVÉE CONSTANCE 2015 - AC Côtes du Roussillon-Villages, France (#168690) (D) - $18.95
  • CLOS DE LOS SIETE 2014 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#622571) (XD) - $23.95  89 pts  wine review
  • ACHÁVAL FERRER MALBEC 2015 - Mendoza, Argentina (#024737) (XD) - $29.95  90 pts  wine review

  • GABRIEL MEFFRE SAINTE-CATHERINE GIGONDAS 2015 - AP, Rhône, France (#370270) (XD) - $32.95
  • DOMAINE GASTON & PIERRE RAVAUT LADOIX 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (#557777) (XD) - $40.95
  • DOMAINE DROUHIN ROSEROCK PINOT NOIR 2015 - Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#529107) (XD) - $41.95  91+ pts  wine review
  • ARGIANO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#154609) (XD) - $59.95
  • RÉVA BAROLO 2013 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#490045) (XD) - $59.95  92 pts  wine review
  • MONTES PURPLE ANGEL 2015 - DO Colchagua Valley, Chile (#062364) (XD) - $62.95
  • ORENO 2016 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#735597) (XD) - $86.95
  • ELDERTON COMMAND SINGLE VINEYARD SHIRAZ 2014 - Barossa, South Australia (#716142) (XD) - $99.95
Domaine Drouhin Roserock Pinot Noir 2015 (91+ pts)Achával Ferrer Malbec 2015 (90 pts)

White Wine:

  • ROCKWAY FERGIE JENKINS LIMITED EDITION RIESLING 2016 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#485326) (M) - $16.95
  • LA GRIFFE BERNARD CHÉREAU SUR LIE MUSCADET SÈVRE ET MAINE 2017 - Sur lie, AP, Loire, France (#948182) (XD) - $17.95
  • CAVE SPRING ESTATE GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2015 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#302059) (D) - $18.95
  • HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE RIESLING 2017 - VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#557165) (D) - $19.95
  • MOMO ORGANIC SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#009167) (XD) - $19.95  90 pts  wine review
  • DR. PAULY-BERGWEILER WEHLENER SONNENUHR RIESLING KABINETT 2015 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#557652) (M) - $23.95  90 pts  wine review
  • GREYWACKE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#164228) (XD) - $24.95
  • LE G DE CHÂTEAU GUIRAUD 2016 - AC Bordeaux, France (#519892) (XD) - $28.95  FE
  • DAVIS BYNUM RIVER WEST VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2015 - Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California, USA (#205815) (XD) - $29.95  90 pts  wine review
  • CLOS PEGASE MITSUKO’S VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2016 - Estate grown, Carneros, Napa Valley, California, USA (#986737) (XD) - $34.95  91 pts  wine review
Clos Pegase Mitsuko's Vineyard Chardonnay 2016 (91 pts)

Sparkling Wine:

  • CRISTAL BRUT VINTAGE CHAMPAGNE 2008 - AC, France (#268755) (XD) - $311.95

Dessert Wine:

  • HENRY OF PELHAM CABERNET ICEWINE 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#672402) (S) (200 mL) - $39.95

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  • Sunday, October 7, 2018

Pierre Sparr Réserve Pinot Gris 2016 (Alsace) and Vieni Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (Niagara) - Wine Reviews

Pierre Sparr Réserve Pinot Gris 2016 and Vieni Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Opened up these two delicious wines to celebrate long weekend.

The Pinot Gris was purchased from the recent LCBO VINTAGES Release, while the Cabernet Sauvignon is from an excellent 2010 Niagara vintage and was purchased when visiting the winery in .

Tasting Notes:

PIERRE SPARR RÉSERVE PINOT GRIS 2016 - AC Alsace, France (#983395) (D) - $18.95
The nose is soft and mild, featuring waxy, lemon, and orange citrus aromas. The plush palate is more lively and a touch oily, with nice orange citrus, honeyed, and peach flavours in an off-dry style on a medium+ bodied frame. Acids are bright, fresh, and provide lift, while the finish is long and juicy. Score: 88+ pts

Pierre Sparr Réserve Pinot Gris 2016 (88+ pts)

VIENI RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#373308) (XD) - $19.95
Matured considerably since I last tasted this wine. The mature nose has savoury black plum, earth, and barnyard aromas. It's medium-full bodied on the palate with currant, cassis, red and black fruits all wrapped around a savoury profile. Tannins are soft and nearly fully integrated, with just a touch of grip. Juicy acids. Very good length on the savoury, earthy finish. Score: 88 pts

Vieni Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (88 pts)

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  • Monday, October 1, 2018

Momo Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

wine review is the delicious white wine companion to the red 2016 Momo Pinot Noir that I enjoyed recently, It was released into LCBO VINTAGES on April 28 and is virtually sold out at the moment, but will be coming back to shelves as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

This organic white wine is produced by Seresin Estate, a leading organic and biodynamic producer in New Zealand, and comes from their second line of wines called 'Momo', which means 'offspring' in Maori. This white wine is also suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

It was a challenging cold start in 2016, with pressure to fight frosts during the early stage of vine growth. However, a spectacularly long and warm summer, with dry weather during the harvest period allowed the fruit to be picked on-time, delivered intact, and without stress. One-third of the 100% certified organic fruit was sourced from their own Tatou and Raupo Creek vineyards, which also has biodynamic certification, while the remainder was sourced from certified organic growers - whose vineyards they help manage - in Wairau and Waihopai Valleys.

Momo Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

MOMO ORGANIC SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#009167) (XD) - $19.95
Naturally fermented with wild yeast in stainless steel tanks, and aged on the lees for 6 months. Screw cap. This has a lovely, open, fragrant nose of kiwi, guava, tropical fruit, asparagus, and lemon, with hints of yellow pepper and mineral adding complexity. It's medium-bodied on the palate with a nice creamy texture and lovely aroma replays joined by some wet wool flavours. Succulent, crisp acids are juicy. Minerally and grapefruit-tinged on the long finish. This is very nice. Highly recommended. Score: 90 pts

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